By Tatiana Flowers
By Tatiana Flowers
Rabat – Moroccan street sellers and shop owners scrambled to stock-up on plastic bags last week, ahead of the recent legislation that currently bans the importing, selling, and production of plastic bags in the kingdom.
The landmark legislation hits Morocco hard, since it’s currently the second largest plastic bag consumer in the world just after the United States, according to The Morocco Industry Ministry.
The significance of Morocco’s large consumption of plastic bags is due to the fact that its much smaller in size than the United States, or any of the other countries that follow behind it on the list of the largest plastic bag consumers in the world.
The kingdom of Morocco uses three billion plastic bags per year, which means on average, one Moroccan person uses 900 plastic bags annually.Green campaigners say this new legislation might take years to get used to.
The new push for “going green” comes just before the COP22 convention, a meeting led by the United Nations Convention on Climate Change in Marrakech this coming November. The primary goal of the event is to fight against global warming. Similar bans are in effect in other parts of Africa, including South Africa, Uganda, Somalia, and Rwanda.
This new ban on plastic bags didn’t come out of thin air; in fact, it has been in the works for years now. In 2009, the Moroccan Parliament urged a ban on black plastic bags to reduce the amount of litter on Morocco’s streets and beaches. Plastic bags take hundreds of years to degrade, and Morocco struggles to consistently and efficiently clean its streets.
A 2013 study conducted by The German Society for International Cooperation showed that Moroccan cities are only able to discard 70 percent of its trash. The World Bank says less than 10 percent of collected waste is actually disposed of efficiently.
That ban on plastic trash bags was only partially successful in 2009 because authorities weren’t fully able to curtail the production of plastic bags.
According to Al Jazeera, Morocco ranks among one of the greenest countries in the world, alongside Ethiopia, Costa Rica, and Bhutan, which may be due to the kingdom’s crackdown on carbon emissions, along with its ambition to be more environmentally conscious.
Moulay Hafid Elalamay, Industry Minister, and initiator of the new legislation said on Twitter, although this ban may take some time getting used to, several alternative solutions will be available, which includes paper bags and fabric bags.
Although many support the ban on plastic bags in Morocco, many don’t. Regardless of the widespread benefits of going green, many say the result of this ban could be far more detrimental.
According to Al Araby, an online publication, written in Arabic, this new legislation could result in the loss of 50,000 jobs in the plastics industry.